Hydronic floor heating is one of the two types of radiant in floor heating. The other kind
uses electrical cables beneath the floor’s surface for conducting the electricity that produces heat.
Hydronic in floor heating uses hot water flowing through the same place, instead of electrical
cables. This floor heating type is the more popular of the two radiant floor heating methods.
It is considered more efficient. Hot water tubing maintains residual heat for longer periods
than do the electrical cables. It is also considered safer, since obviously no electrical fires can start through
the use of hot water.
The "drawback" to hydronic in floor heating is that it is more expensive to install initially.
However, the long-term savings on your heating bill more than make up for this up front cost.
Radiant hydronic floor heating is better than forced air
vent heating for a number of reasons
More economical. After the initial cost of installation, radiant in floor heating saves you up to 30%
on your heating bills each and every year - a tremendous long-term savings.
Cleaner. No more filthy vents, no more recycled air that brings with it all manner of dust, mildew,
mold, spores, dead bugs, pollen, and other allergens or substances that interfere with the
Quieter. In fact, it’s soundless. No more rattle and hum of the heating element going on and off all
Invisible. No more vents to look at or to get in the way of furniture and decor placement, and no sight
of any heating elements at all.
More comfortable. With radiant floor heating, you can walk barefoot across your floors in the middle of
Winter and still be warm. Objects in the room are also warmed--so, no more unpleasant shock of sitting
on the cold couch or chair. When your feet are warm, when objects in the room are radiating warmth,
then you are truly warm and comfortable. So, you’re getting greater warmth and comfort for less cost.
Hydronic in floor heating actually goes all the way back to the Romans, but as you can imagine
there have been many new developments since those days. Hydronic in floor heating was re-introduced in modern times
in the mid-20th century by architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright but, unfortunately, all that they had available to
them was copper piping which eventually corroded and would have cost a fortune to replace, and rather poor heating
control technology. When the copper pipes corroded, homeowners just switched to the forced air vents so familiar to
But today, the state of the art hydronic floor heating systems use PEX radiant tubing within in
a concrete mass known as Gypsum Concrete or "Gypcrete." Most of the time this works perfectly, but there is an even
newer development called a low-mass or modular board underlayment system.
Instead of embedding the hot water tubing in concrete, the PEX tubing gets set in the grooves of
pre-cut wood panels. This method was developed to make installation easier for remodeling, and is now being used in
most new home construction projects.
With hydronic in floor heating systems, you are able to make use of a variety
of energy sources for heating the water, including: an electric boiler; a gas water heater; a wood burning boiler;
a heat pump; a solar collector; or, geothermal energy. The flowing hot water warms up your floors to approximately
85 degrees Fahrenheit at the most.
If you know how ceramic tiles being heated by direct sunlight feel, this is how your floors of
any material will feel--all the time that you have the heat on (after an initial heat-up period if you turn the
heater off for a while). Zone controls adapt the floors in different rooms to your desired temperatures.
Hydronic floor heating typically costs anywhere from $6 to $15 per square foot to have
installed, depending upon the complexity of the job. This up front cost is well worth every dime you spend on it.
Keep in mind the myriad advantages of hydronic floor heating systems.
Check out this Youtube video for some extra information tidbits.
Hydronic Floor Heating Articles
Hydronic Floor Heating Benefits - There are
two main types of heating used in houses, gas and electric, with both of those forced air heating is the most
common, but hydronic floor heating is a great alternative to the forced air heating.
Hydronic Floor Heating - Installation
Concerns - Conservation of energy is not the only reason that up to 30% of new homeowners are turning
to hydronic floor heating. Remodeling projects are also looking the this heat form that makes sense for
comfort, durability and saving money on a long term basis.
Hydronic Heating - How It Works - The field of
hydronic heating uses water circulated throughout to heat the home. The water is actually recycled and therefore is
considered green energy, leaving a smaller carbon footprint in its wake. Whether you live in an older home or a new
building, hydronics can be used for your heating enjoyment.